Friday, May 12, 2006

For love or culture

AC Douglas sounds off a furious* retort to my post on open discussion. But not only does he "take me behind the woodshed," as Henry Holland writes in comments here**, he does so in a highly dogmatic way to rub my face in it. [Damn, mixed metaphors again.] Yet I will pick my argument up proudly, ignoring the stinging sensation in the nether regions (the footnotes), and continue the debate through my streaming tears.

My position is based on the fact that I love music. I want to learn as much about music as I can, which means that I have to be open to learning new things. The approach that ACD espouses is by definition close-minded. He knows that his musical tastes are superior, thus he has nothing to learn from other people. I do not question ACD's love of music, and if his dogmatic approach to canon makes him happy, bravo. It does make any conversations with ACD unsatisfying. I can still learn from him, but I always feel that he is not really listening to me. And that feeling is what occurs anytime a participant in a discussion is treated as inferior. But I want to share my love of music with others, and to learn about other views of music. This is why I teach, why I blog, how I live.

*Insert joke-killing explanation that this intro is a play on ACD's blog name here.

** As ACD doesn't care to engage in dialogue, he doesn't need comments.


Anonymous said...

Prof. Spiegelberg-

Small note: You totally rule. That's all.


Tim Rutherford-Johnson said...

"any conversations with ACD unsatisfying"

To put it mildly. Fair play to you Scott for continuing to attempt a dialogue with him, but I often wonder if time and energy couldn't be saved leaving ACD to foam away on his own; and indeed if that's not what he'd prefer.

Anonymous said...

Further to what TR-J wrote, can someone please explain to me why everyone in the classical music blogosphere seems to feel compelled to link to ACD's paint-by-numbers frothing and blustering? Has he ever demonstrated any real insight into the music whose superiority he considers self-evident? Is he capable of anything other than picking fights with other bloggers for being insufficiently snobbish? Since he's clearly uninterested in any exchange of ideas, why pay him any mind at all?

Scott said...

ACD does have some good ideas about Wagner operas. His description of Das Rheingold for beginners is well done. Beyond that, I find it helpful to be challenged in my mindset. ACD's blustering is rather predictable, but in reading his responses to my thoughts, I always check to see if they are reasonable responses, thus clarifying my own opinions.

I do admit that I do not read him regularly anymore, only when he is responding to me or other classical bloggers.

Anonymous said...

I'm with DJA on this one. Who is AC Douglas anyway? Why does anyone even respond to him? Obviously he doesn't much care about responses, since he won't allow comments on his own blog.

Well... maybe not so true. He strikes me as that classic fop who acts as though he's not interested in anything anyone has to say - that's he's above the fray or something - but, in reality, thrives on the attention. Good or bad, he doesn't much care, as long as someone's looking at him. He positively revels in the fact that people think he's a pompous twit.

I suspect in real life he's one of the most astoundingly shy, boring people one could meet. The internet allows him to live out fantasies of importance and power, gives him a place where he can feel he has some effect. The constant reminder that one does, in fact, exist can be quite addictive for some. He appears to spend every waking hour scouring the internet for any mention of himself so he can rant and rave on his silly little page about it. He's like the boy in the schoolyard throwing rocks at the girl he likes, or the shy nerd who's afraid to approach the "cool" kids so instead makes fun of them, convinces himself that really he doesn't want to be part of their group anyway. He's really quite the tragic figure.

But I don't see any reason for anyone to respond to him, since that's just enabling the behaviour. And what does he really have to say? Gosh, gee, the guy doesn't like... um, just about anything as far as I can tell. He's the Mikey of classical music bloggers and Wagner is his LIFE cereal. Now if only someone would feed him pop-rocks and coke...

It amazes me how many people link to him - I suppose that's just the nature of our "networking is everything" zeitgeist - the more link trades, the better, regardless whose page they're on, what they say, or how they say it. The idea that just because someone opens their mouth they are contributing to the discussion is nonsense. Contributing, yes, I'll give you that - contributing something worthwhile? That's another matter.

Oh god, and his writing style is awful. You know he just sits there with his Thesaurus open, furiously masturbating over the sweat-stained, dog-eared entry for "bad" as he desperately searches for newer, more flowery ways of expressing his dislike. I don't know what exactly he fancies himself - maybe some vicious wit in the tradition of Twain, Wodehouse, or Swift - but he's much closer to Anne Coulter. Only not as funny.

(Hmm... maybe that's what the "AC" stands for, come to think of it...)